The BBC has commissioned a study into creative writing classes in schools, and it has found that students are more likely to learn their craft if they are taught by experienced teachers who are familiar with the topics they teach.
The BBC commissioned the study from Creative Learning Centre (CLC), a nonprofit group which has trained hundreds of teachers to offer creative writing, music and theatre courses.
The aim of the study is to assess whether these courses offer students with creative abilities a boost in their learning and performance.
The study found that more than 90% of students who attended a creative writing course received a boost to their academic performance, with the most dramatic increases being recorded in the first two years of the course.
In addition, almost half of the students who received a creative course had improved their academic outcomes, compared to less than 30% of those who didn’t attend the course, the study found.
“We wanted to see if we could really help improve academic performance and increase the quality of students’ learning,” said Liza Dickson, CLC’s director of research and development.
“I think if you’re going to do a course, you want to ensure that you have experienced teachers in your classes, and there is some sort of a learning pipeline going into it.”
The study also found that creative writing can offer students a boost on some subjects, but not others.
Students in creative writing programs were more likely than students in non-creative writing programs to improve their reading skills and have better test scores, but the study did not look at whether this helped students gain creative thinking skills.
The findings come just a month after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the use of federal funding for creative writing and musical education, and as the country grapples with the opioid epidemic.
The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government’s spending on creative writing is not an undue burden on states, which are free to decide how to fund the courses.
In response, a number of states are implementing creative writing-focused programs in their school systems, including Colorado, Illinois, New York, and Vermont.